How does culture affect advertising


The power of advertising

The advertising industry claims that advertising is the engine of our social market economy. Advertising regulates prices, leads to constant improvement of products and informs the consumer. In short: advertising creates transparency and thus a greater variety of decisions.

It is much more the case that advertising is subject to the forces of the market economy, interacts with the movements of the market and thus becomes a yardstick for the economic situation in a country. Because only if companies earn well do they have money for advertising.

Due to the poor economic situation in 2001 and 2002, the German advertising market recorded a decline in sales of over five percent. There were layoffs and hiring freezes. Advertising is a branch of the economy and therefore depends on the economic situation.

Other sectors of the economy, such as the television industry or daily newspapers and magazines, are dependent on advertising income.

A few seconds of attention

Like any other industry, advertising works on the principle of supply and demand. In this case, however, the offer is difficult to sell: It is an advertisement for a product and, despite the contrary figures, many still believe that advertising has a negative connotation.

Advertisers know that too. You have to make advertising attractive so that it is entertaining, frightening and arousing curiosity. The ultimate goal of advertising is to attract attention. A few seconds of attention - this is the maximum price a viewer is willing to pay for good advertising.

The manufacturers of the advertised product want their product to be noticed and to be the focus of the consumer's attention for a few seconds. This is exactly where the problem or the challenge for the entire advertising industry lies, because every advertised product demands attention for itself and where many shout, only a few are heard.

Advertisers have known since the introduction of private television in the mid-1980s: attention is a scarce commodity that is becoming increasingly scarce with the increasing number of media.

The cannibalism in the advertising industry

The struggle for the audience's attention means that advertisers have to come up with more and more ideas so that their product is even noticed among the thousands of TV spots, advertisements and radio commercials.

Many advertisements are becoming more and more extreme. The advertisers try with almost all means to increase the sales figures of the advertised product. They use sexual innuendos (shower gel, body lotion, beer), break taboos (a dying AIDS patient as an advertisement for clothing) or create humorous advertisements ("I'm not stupid" as a slogan for an electronic chain) - the main thing is that the viewer stays on Ball.

As the consumer gets used to the advertising campaigns and becomes numb over time, the advertisers are regularly forced to make new campaigns even more conspicuous and extreme. The advertising slogan "Avarice is cool" sums up this escalating development: The slogan is no longer spoken, but shouted by a young woman.

The downfall of the advertising country

Provocative advertising such as "Stinginess is cool" has mixed reactions: Some advertisers pay tribute to the inventors of this slogan, as it manages to draw the attention of an entire country to an electronics market with a brief message.

Other advertisers fear that the advertising industry is cutting the branch with such slogans on which it is sitting. Because the entire industry lives from the fact that it can increase the attention it creates with its advertising spots from campaign to campaign.

The "Avarice is cool" campaign, however, is so aggressive, clumsy and loud in its presentation that you can only reach the consumer's attention with even more aggressive, clumsy and louder campaigns. Some advertisers say that sooner or later this leads to a loss of quality in advertising and, as a result, to dwindling acceptance by consumers. In addition: Shouldn't advertising generally encourage consumption and not stinginess?

Does advertising work?

Generations of scientists have been concerned with whether the reputation of advertising is heard by consumers and whether they actually change their purchasing behavior. They try to find the optimal advertising formula through their own studies, surveys, and theoretical borrowings from psychology and behavioral research.

Of course, this is not just because of the need for scientific research: Business in particular wants to know whether the assets that go into advertising year after year are well invested. If one could prove which advertising works and which not, the economy would pay the advertisers according to their success and thus save several billions. However, advertising is - and that's the only thing the researchers have agreed on so far - too complex to be reduced to a simple formula.

Even a direct comparison of the advertising campaign and the increase in sales does not provide reliable information about the exact effect of the advertising. Too many factors are involved: Despite defined target groups, the individual differences between consumers are large. Everyone who sees an advertisement reacts differently based on their personal attitudes and experiences. Not to mention that advertising messages can be perceived differently not only from country to country, but even from region to region.

Control and self-control

Advertisements not only cross regional and social boundaries, but often also those of good taste and the law. Every citizen who feels offended by an advertisement has the right to complain in Germany.

Advertisers are afraid of these complaints because they call the legislature into action. That could tighten the advertising laws and thus limit the possibilities of the advertising industry.

In order to prevent this, the German advertising industry has set up its own control committee to check the advertisements complained about: the German Advertising Council cannot prohibit individual companies from their advertising campaigns, but it can recommend that the advertisements no longer be sent or printed.

Newspaper publishers and television companies often listen to this recommendation. In 2017, 1,389 complaints about advertisements were received from the population, which were spread across 787 complaint cases. In 257 cases, the advertising council rejected the complaints as unfounded.

The Advertising Council took action in 135 cases and shared the complainants' concerns. 90 percent of the companies followed the recommendation of the council and stopped advertising. The advertising council issued a complaint in only 14 cases.